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About Christmas gifts
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This column features comments from Chris Teicheira’s Facebook page. The Bulletin isn’t responsible for his friends’ broken sentences, poor grammar or general lack of interest in punctuation.


I’ve returned from Costa Rica alive, sans tattoo or wife. Not that I didn’t search for the latter, but as one wise person on our trip informed me: “There are some things that pretty girls don’t have to do.”

Though there were a few Costa Rican women that I would’ve gladly handed the job to. (Inside joke for those that were in Costa Rica.)

We are just a week from Christmas, and I walked in the door to my country style bachelor pad to a beautiful Christmas tree – without a single present under it. Like many a single man, I hit the stores during the last few days, usually trying to knock it out in one fell swoop. This is why my 7-year-old niece ended up with a Hillshire Farm sausage gift box last year. 

There is something absolutely terrifying about walking into the mall for most men. This wave of panic hits me like a pie in the face – realizing I have no idea how to shop. Soon the cart is filled with ambiguous items that are suitable to give to either gender, but that neither would actually want. Steak knife sets, car-cleaning kits, lamps, etc. Nothing says “I love you, mom” like the Lazy Susan wooden spice rack that I bought a few years back.

Why does this happen? Because as a man, I don’t like to ask the simple question, “What do you want for Christmas?” Seems easy enough, but somehow I have this expectation that each new year, I’ll become fashion savvy and suddenly know the right style of boots to buy my sister Katie.

It will never happen. 

I remember going on a shopping excursion with some of my female cousins last year. One approached the group with four different boots in tow. “Which ones for Katie?” she asked. In unison, they all pointed to the same pair. It was like watching an idiot savant know immediately how many toothpicks fell from the box, except in this case it was me that was definitely the idiot. I did my best to forage for gifts. I’d return to the group with an item and ask, “This for mom?” The look in my cousin Jiana’s eyes as she said, “Chris, that is a men’s denim jacket. Is Aunt Kerry planning on going to a Poison concert at Oakwood Lake?” That let me know I was way out of my element.

And here I am again, a few days from Christmas without a gift purchased.

I took a poll of people from around our area: “What is the greatest Christmas gift you ever received?” Here are some of the responses:

• Roberto Arreola, Lei Varletta, Cassie Nasr, Roy Syrie, David Beza and too many to name said the Atari game system was tops on their list, adding that Pac-Man made it all the better.

• Jason Silva, Jack Soren and Troy Reed also went with gaming systems – with Pong, Nintendo, and a PS2 showing their differences in age.

• Wes Harris, Andrew Parolini and Mike Shiffler all agreed their Red-Rider BB guns were the best – and that not a squirrel was spared.

• Nichole Tilton loved her Oscar the Grouch alarm clock, waking each morning to “It’s going to be another grouchy day!”

• Bonnie Kirsch: “New Kids on the Block concert tickets. I was so happy, I couldn’t stop crying.”

• Denise M. Martinez: “Weeble Wobble Tree House, they really don’t fall down!”

• Andrew Brandt: “A bicycle that had removable training wheels and a banana seat, I was cruising in style!”

• Dennis Fredrick Kobzeff: “Marlin 30-30 when I was 10 years old. That’s a rifle for killing reindeer”

• Lisa Souza: “1977 a puppy and a holly hobby doll house.”

• Jenese Litle Borges-Soto:  “Dressy Bessie, my most prized possession have had her 43 years.”

• Danni Wheeler-Cron: “Opening up a huge heavy box.... With a log in it.... Sitting in tears my aunt brings in my real present a beautiful new English saddle!!!” 

• Mike Kelly: “THE......Green machine.”

But hands down, the overwhelming leader in the clubhouse is the Cabbage Patch Doll! It would be impossible to list all the ladies that have this as their answer and all remembering the names given to each. 

Still, I’d like to highlight a few people that went outside the box, so to speak.

• Sharon Zimmerman-Herrera: “My mother did all the Christmas shopping in our family, but on Christmas Eve every year Dad made a mad dash downtown to shop for ‘his girls.’ He never bought additional gifts for my 3 brothers, but he never missed a Christmas of getting something special for Mom and me every December 24. It’s odd that this never bothered my brothers, but they seemed to understand. Mom and I always got the same gift...duplicate bride dolls for our beds, cowgirl dolls with real leather boots and suede skirts, slippers and robes, Black Hills gold (necklaces, bracelets, earrings) I grew to adulthood the gifts changed to irons, waffle makers, vacuum cleaners and finally back to birthstone rings. Dad continued this special gift into his 80s. It stopped the year Mom passed away. I never told him how much more I missed Mom at Christmas because she and I could no longer share our special gifts from him each year!”

• Harold Ortega: “1968 we didn’t have much. I was 4 years old. Tore thru everything I got looked around shouted out ‘is this all I get’ no my dad says ‘you get one more thing’ he took me in the bedroom and paddled my ass. To this day we laugh like crazy about that. Remember the ones we lost. We can’t get them back. Thank you”

• Marlene Harris: “I didn’t know that I wanted it cause I was only about 4 years old, but my older sister Dorothy got this 2 foot doll (I’m sure it came from Hardware Mart). After I saw it, my parents could tell that I really loved that doll. The next day my Uncle Joe came into the house with this big package that Santa had delivered to the ‘wrong’ Teicheira household. I was so happy that I’m sure I cried! And I still believe that Santa made a delivery mistake that year.”

• Maddie Menezes: “I grew up in a foster home. My foster parents were in their late fifties, disabled, and on a fixed income. On Christmas morning we awoke to new (used) bikes around the tree. My Sis’ was pretty, pink and petite. My Brother’s was red and cool with a banana seat. Mine was a blue girls bike with a hideously high sissy bar in the back and a banana seat. It was the ugliest thing you ever saw and the best Christmas gift I ever got as a child!!”

• Corina Donovan: “The best Christmas presents given to me in my childhood (from 5th grade on) were from Natalie Freitas parents were too poor to buy me much of anything and she always bought me something really special every year....never expecting anything in return....which is one of the many reasons we are still friends today.”

• Bdc Orr: “Spending time at my grandma’s with all my cousins, aunts, uncles now everybody’s grown or a few have passed...the gifts really were meaningless... I cherish and love those memories!!”

There are many people that I will add to next week’s column. I, however, have returned from Costa Rica with one extra special present – a mutant flu bug. And the Nyquil says “End the column here before you write something you regret.”

“It’s not Where ya do...achoo...It’s What ya do”